No matter how talented and dedicated your employees are, it’s difficult for them to be productive when your systems are down. Whether a network outage is caused by a cybersecurity breach, a natural disaster or an unexpected technical issue, having a disaster recovery plan in place will help businesses and their employees get back to making money as quickly as possible.

Although catastrophes only happen occasionally, if ever, for most businesses, if ever, not having a plan in place means that nobody will know what to do in the event of network downtime. This could add days – or weeks – to remediation efforts and cause additional productivity problems as employees won’t know what to do in the meantime. To get back to business as quickly as possible, you’ll need a robust disaster recovery plan that everyone knows how to apply.

What is a Disaster Recovery Plan?

A disaster recovery plan is a comprehensive strategy that outlines the procedures, policies, and protocols your organization will follow in the event of an unexpected event or disaster that could impact daily operations. Disaster recovery plans usually include the following elements:

1. Risk Assessment: This is an evaluation of potential risks that could impact operations. This includes identifying hazards, assessing their risk levels and potential impacts, and prioritizing remediation. If assets and related threats aren’t first identified, strategy will be flawed from the start.

2. Business Impact Analysis: This is an assessment of the potential impact of a disaster on an organization’s operations. It includes identifying critical systems, applications, and processes and evaluating their importance to the organization’s overall operations to understand the implications of a disaster.

3. Recovery Objectives: It is important to have objectives that define the goals and priorities of a disaster recovery plan. This includes defining recovery time objectives (RTOs) and recovery point objectives (RPOs).

4. Recovery Strategies: After understanding the risks, impacts and objectives, businesses can define the procedures and processes that will be used for recovery in the event of a disaster. This includes backup and recovery procedures, redundancy strategies, and failover procedures.

5. Communication Plan: This outlines the procedures and protocols for communicating with internal and external stakeholders, and customers in the event of a disaster. This includes identifying key personnel, defining roles and responsibilities, and establishing communication channels.

6. Testing and Training: Ongoing training and testing are critical components of any disaster recovery plan. This includes testing the plan to ensure that it is effective, and providing training to employees to ensure that they are familiar with the plan and their role in the event of a disaster. Many organizations use tabletop testing or live exercises are an effective way to bring stakeholders and key personnel together to practice their response with specific scenarios.

7. Plan Maintenance: A disaster recovery plan should be reviewed regularly and updated to ensure that it remains effective and relevant. Ensure that key personnel are aware of any changes to the plan.

From Disaster Recovery Plan to Improved Productivity

Although minimizing downtime is the most obvious way that a disaster recovery plan can improve your organization’s productivity, there are many other benefits to maintaining this level of organization and awareness. They include:

1. Getting Back to Work: Network downtime can have a significant impact on productivity because it means that employees are unable to access the systems they need to do their work. By minimizing downtime, organizations can enable employees to resume their work more quickly.

2. Reducing Backlogs: When systems are offline, work can pile up and create backlogs that can last weeks or months. This can lead to delays and reduced productivity long after systems are restored. By minimizing downtime, organizations can reduce the size of the backlog and enable employees to catch up more quickly.

3. Minimizing Distractions: If a network crashes and most work can’t be done, employees may become distracted or confused, which can impact their ability to focus on the tasks they are able to complete. By minimizing downtime an organization can enable employees to remain focused on their work, improving productivity.

4. Reduced Overtime: When downtime occurs, employees may need to work overtime to catch up on missed work or to restore systems. This can impact productivity by increasing your payroll costs and reducing the time available for other tasks. With a disaster response plan that minimizes downtime, organizations can reduce the need for overtime..

How Disaster Recovery Plans Support Communication

Another thing a disaster recovery plan does for organizations is facilitate communication across the organization about how to coordinate action in the event of unexpected outages. Beyond supporting a fast and efficient response to problems, these kinds of initiatives and exercises support a culture of communication, transparency, and responsibility. Here are some ways that improved dialogue between employees will translate into higher productivity:

1. Ensuring Clarity: Effective communication is essential during a disaster or outage. By establishing clear lines of communication and well-defined roles and responsibilities, employees can work together more effectively to respond to a disaster. This can help to minimize confusion while building relationships between employees that can be leveraged outside of emergencies.

2. Enables Collaboration: Effective communication also enables collaboration across an organization. When employees can communicate effectively between business functions, they can work together to identify and address issues more rapidly. This not only helps to recover more quickly, but allows employees to spot problems earlier and remediate them before they create a significant outage.

3. Minimizes Errors: Effective communication can also help to minimize errors during a disaster. By ensuring that employees can communicate effectively and work together under pressure, mistakes can be identified and addressed more rapidly, reducing problems that can impact productivity during and after a disaster recovery.

4. Enables Knowledge Sharing: Improved communication can also enable knowledge sharing across an organization. When employees know how to communicate effectively, they can share information and best practices that can help to improve productivity over the long term.

Working with Kalmer Solutions

Kalmer Solutions provides managed IT services for the modern workforce. Based in Jonesboro, Arkansas, we support our clients with virtual CIO services, technology upgrades, cloud-based computing, IT support, cybersecurity, the fulfillment of compliance requirements, and more. Our goal is to become your trusted IT partner and add long-term strategic value. Contact us today to learn more about how working with us can transform your business.